The twentieth stage of the 2012 Giro d’Italia lived up to its billing.
With a route designed to include climbs suggested by the fans, the Queen stage of this year’s corsa rosa included the highest finish in the 103-year history of the race – the 2757 metre Passo dello Stelvio.
Four additional climbs lay between the riders and the Stelvio, including the penultimate climb, the 1717 Mortorilo.
The stage will forever be remembered for the astonishing solo victory of Thomas de Gendt (Vacansoleil-DCM) but the battle between the contenders for overall victory proved equally enthralling.
Here are some images of the key moments of the stage.
An attack from Oliver Zaugg (RadioShack-Nissan-Trek) on the Mortirolo brought the stage to life, prompting a pursuit by De Gendt, Nieve, Cunego and Amador
The most iconic climb in Italian cycling, the Passo dello Stelvio, produced heroics to equal its scenery
Ryder Hesjedal set the pace for the favourites on the Stelvio, with Joaquin Rodriguez content to stay on his wheel
Damiano Cunego, 2004 Giro champion, endured a lonely ascent of the Stelvio to finish a determined second
Engulfed in the emotion of a truly great victory, De Gendt crosses the line at the summit of the Stelvio